|NOT our house but one of the many we love to look at|
When I learned we'd be moving to Cleveland I immediately started checking out houses for sale in the area. I knew nothing (at that time) about the Cleveland area so the only starting point I had was where the two properties my husband would be working at were located. I needed to find something fairly close to both so he wouldn't have too far to travel in the snowy winters. Most homes in the area were built in the 1920's and I immediately fell for their charm. We looked in several towns/neighborhoods but we were smitten with Shaker Heights & Cleveland Heights the most. The streets are lined with trees and most homes have gorgeous curb appeal. So, yes, that's how we narrowed down the area we wanted to live in. It was a combination of practicality (commute distance) and love at first sight (tree lined streets)...or so I thought.
Now that we've been here almost 18 months I can honestly say that I love living here. You've all heard me go on and on and on (...) about the amazing food & all the things here to do but what it really boils down to is how at home I feel here. The people are beyond friendly and super sincere. I love being able to walk out our front door and have several great areas to walk in...including a lake & a trail covered in trees (which is crazy given I live less than 10 miles from downtown Cleveland). I love that the people I see out walking smile & speak to me. I love the sense of community I feel here. I've lived many places (Northern California, Lake Tahoe, North Carolina, Louisiana) and while I loved people there...I've never been as smitten with a place as I am with Cleveland (except for Tahoe but that's a while other blog post). I find it quite ironic just how much I love it here given when I learned it would soon become our home it had just been listed in Forbes as the #1 worst place in the U.S. to live. Now I just laugh when I hear people bad mouth CLE because of just how little they must know. Most people I know that live here love it just as much as we do.
Anyway, last weekend Lee & I signed up through the church we've been attending to help hand out food donated by the Cleveland Food Bank to an area that needs a little love. We were part of a very eclectic group of people and as I worked side-by-side with them & handed out bags of beans, squash, peppers, corn, tomatoes, watermelon, squash, and zucchini I felt an overwhelming sense of community wash over me. The people I met that day were so gracious and sincere and happy and while they didn't have as much as others, the did have the love of their family and a sense of community. That got me to thinking...how did I get so lucky to end up in such a fantastic community? Then it hit me...it wasn't luck that got me here, it was a blessing from God. One that I'm incredibly grateful for every day.